Bed-wetting Alarms

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 08, 2022
2 min read

Although many young children wet their beds, most stop by the time they are 4 or 5, but it may continue until they are 7. Bed-wetting that persists can lead to embarrassment and teasing by peers. If your child is 6 or 7 and still can't stay dry through the night, you should consider speaking to a doctor about bed-wetting treatment. One treatment that helps many children is a bed-wetting alarm.

Bed-wetting alarms are among the most effective and safest bed-wetting treatments. Studies show alarm therapy is often successful with children over age 7.

With bed-wetting alarms, a special moisture sensor placed in the child's pajamas triggers a bell or buzzer to go off at the start of urination. The alarm is designed to awaken the child so they can get to the toilet and finish urinating. In the first few weeks of use, however, it is usually a parent who is awakened by the alarm and wakes the child to use the bathroom.

If the alarm is used nightly and the wake-up routine is continued, your child will likely begin to wake up to the alarm within 4 to 6 weeks. Within 12 weeks, your child will likely be getting up on their own to go to the bathroom or hold their urine until morning.

Once your child stays dry through the night for 3 weeks, you should continue using the alarm for another 2 weeks and then stop. If your child starts to wet the bed again, you can repeat the process. Usually, it takes about 12 weeks of continued trying for this process to work. It is not a quick fix.

Several different brands and varieties of bed-wetting alarms are available in drug stores or online. They range in price from about $50 to more than $150. You don't need a prescription to get a bed-wetting alarm.

Although the basics of the alarms are the same -- a sensor in the underwear or pajamas detects moisture and triggers an alarm -- there are some slight differences among models.

In most models, a wire runs from the sensor to an audible alarm, which is attached with Velcro to the shoulder of the child's pajamas. The alarm is loud enough to awaken the child and a parent, who can lead the child to the bathroom and make sure they change their underwear before going back to sleep.

Adolescents, however, may prefer a wireless bed-wetting alarm that vibrates when it senses moisture. Because it is wireless and silent, only the wearer is aware when the alarm goes off.

Although bed-wetting alarms require time to work, they can be an effective bed-wetting treatment when children and parents are willing to make the commitment to using them consistently.

Be sure to check with your child’s doctor to determine if a bed-wetting alarm is an appropriate intervention for your child.

Show Sources


University of Minnesota Medical School: "Bed Wetting."

The Nemours Foundation: "Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)."

MedlinePlus: "Bedwetting."

Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Online: "Implementing Bedwetting Alarms for Primary Nocturnal Enuresis."

Fallon Community Health Plan: "Bedwetting Alarms for Nocturnal Enuresis."

Evans, J. ''Nocturnal Eneuresis,'' West J Med., August 2001. 

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